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Michael Jackson: 25 Essential Moments

Rob Sheffield on the King of Pop's career- and culture-defining high points, from "I Want You Back" to "You Rock My World"

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"I Want You Back," 1970

Those superfly dance moves! Those drums! Michael's purple pimp hat! At a turning point for the Motown empire, Berry Gordy puts all of Hitsville U.S.A.'s resources (including the then-unthinkable session budget of $10,000) into devising the perfect pop song. Michael's pleading vocal brings it home. Literally nobody has ever walked out of a room while this song was playing.

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